Tuesday’s lightning storms started a slew of small wildfires across North Central Washington. Firefighting crews across the region are scrambling to contain the damage as another potentially dangerous weather system moves in.
At least nine fires have started in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest since Tuesday, all of which appear to be lightning-caused, said Victoria Wilkins, Forest Service spokesperson.
Crews are also checking on several more reports of fires, she said. The majority of reported fires are one-tenth of an acre or less.
The state Department of Natural Resources reported on Wednesday that lightning caused 31 new fires across Washington.
A second lightning storm may soon be on its way.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag alert, in effect from 1-10 p.m. Thursday for much of the region.
Windy and dry weather is forecast, along with the potential for more thunderstorms, according to the alert.
Wind speeds are projected to reach 15-25 mph with gusts of up to 45 mph, according to the alert. Fires will likely spread more rapidly due to the weather conditions.
Wilkins asked residents to take extra care not to start any new fires. Resources are already stretched thin responding to all of these lightning fires, she said.
Crews are on “extra alert” due to the red flag conditions, she said.